“I’d would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.” – Mary Gardiner Brainard

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  – Hebrews 11:1

“Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” – Paul Tillich

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire

“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture…Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.”  – Erica Jong, Fear of Flying


SOME LINES: “Our mother cautions us, every time you turn around certain you have lost something/afraid you have left it behind/you have, you have…”

I peer over my shoulder. I see webs of my shadow life. The past holds the secrets of what I grieve now. It is a dark, murky road. A starving muddy betrayal when life whispers visions of fullness, that turns on you and offers your head on a platter.


This time travel trip to an outpost of humanity, where few seem to reach. This perfect Eden, this place where dreams come true– Jiminy Cricket singing when you wish upon a star. And poof your dreams come true.


Up against your own self loathing and protruding belly fattening you up for the kill. Feed off this lightness of being. It is so yummy and lustful and ecstatic, this promise for the land of Milk and Honey.

I look in the mirror. I wonder, how did I get here? How did this body take me down into the gutter of despair? I meditated, spruced it with oils, fed it organics, ran like a warrior through the streets, to get a tight butt and a flat stomach. And then, hidden between the tiniest of cracks in my cells, left over trauma and unexpressed rage sunk down deep. I thought I had the answers, and now I don’t even know which is north or south inside of my broken compass system.

Mindfulness, accept, presence, be here now. Enlightenment.

So I sit. My mind races, judgment, judgment, fear, fear, rejection, rejection. I want youth and beauty. I want a long, hard, sweaty orgasm. I want to eat milky ways, oreo cookies and gooey cheese burritos. I want to dance along the Seine, I want to eat pasta in Tuscany, I want to watch the sun roll over the Colorado Rockies. Instead I rock in my arms, sobbing, praying, wondering when my enlightenment packed its bags and said, “I’m going elsewhere, you don’t deserve to be happy.’

Enlightenment – Dark Night of the Soul.

Enlightenment says. “I won’t stay by your side while you go through the dark tunnel. I’m going where the sun is sunnier, where the smiles are brighter and you can’t have me unless you think positive all the time…and you can love everyone. Or I’m out of here.”

I let you go, enlightenment, to find another host that can find love in a war zone. I can’t. My heart breaks and crumples on top of the dead bodies, powerless, unable to resurrect my soul, let alone anyone else’s.

Enlightenment took my head and twisted it around, said you can make this happen, you can make this transform, you can create reality. And then the body caved in, my mind went insane watching the death, suicide of walking souls, and then it said, you did this. YOU…IT IS YOUR FAULT THAT YOU ARE HUMAN.

I dreamt, maybe this will go away, this hurt, pain and body annihilation. I can make this disappear, I can anti-age, I can be physically immortal. I can walk on water and the suffering in my belly will disappear.

Enlightenment tapped its ruler against the chalkboard and said, “Every horrible disease has a silver lining.”

So I dove into the glitter and glitz to find this silver lining and demons ate me alive. Gang wars, rape, and abductions of innocent children. Terrorists beating women into submission. Women who sit in corporate easy chairs, smoking cigars and thinking that they broke the glass ceiling, when all they have is the scars of broken glass that cut their veins.


I see the bright lights and neon signs that flash Peace Now, All you need is love, Make Love Not War. I hear them calling to me. But inside, enlightenment has shriveled up into an old lady waiting for the Gates of Heaven to drop down on her head and smash all her dreams. The song still sings in my head. One day your prince will come. I am woman, hear me roar. Then the song dies and beats of wind, thunder, a smack across the head, and wake up you idiot, this is all a dream anyway. You never really existed in the first place.


The story ends. And begins. Does anyone want to be saved? Hallelujah. Can I be saved? Hallelujah. Enlightenment even kills the young babes.


Your waves of destruction are so huge and big and impossible to swim. I’m first learning to surf, doggy paddle, and maybe, just maybe I won’t drown. I want a new body. I want my body to work. I don’t know how.

Enlightenment, why did you leave me?

I hold a candle, waiting for your return. I am waiting. Waiting and waiting. Come on, enlightenment, I’m hanging on the cross here. I’m fading, going. Blood eyes, fangs waiting for the kill. Enlightenment, what big teeth you have. Suck me dry. Life support. BEEEP!

“Come into my heart now/ I write/ whoever you are out there…” “Substances mixed with water/ fumes, no name for them/ smelling worse than a sewer…” “How many are moving/ not in belief/ only in homelessness/ not in communion/ only in blood and woundedness.”

Enlightenment is human.

A woman hungry on the side of the road. A child reaching for a hand. A smile that comes from heartbreak. A long road to heaven. Enlightenment, I see and feel you in the dark.


The Death of Goddesses
by Erica Jong

It used to be hard for women, snowed in their white lives, white lies, to write books with that fine frenzy which commends genius to posterity, yet estranges it from its closest friends.

Women were friends to all, & being too friendly they could not command the unfriendly prerogatives of genius, though some were geniuses still, destroying only themselves with the torment of the unfriendly ghost trapped in a friendly form.

Oh the women who died dissembling friendship for the world! Oh the women who turned the dagger inward when it wished to go out, who impaled themselves on Womanhood itself!

No vampire could be as greedy for blood, no father or husband as bullying. A woman punishing herself with her own pain is a fierce opponent indeed.

It is self against self, dagger to dagger, blood of her blood, blood of her daughter, blood of her mother, her menses, her moon, all pooled together, one crimson sea.

It is the awful auto da fé, the sublime seppuku, Sante Sebastiana as archer & victim too.
The arrow flies from her bow. She runs, fleet as Diana, & stops it with her breast.

Enough! cried the Women-Who-Cared. Henceforth we will turn our anger where it belongs. We will banish the whitest lies. We will speak the black truth as it is. Our father– we spit back their sperm. Our husbands– we spit back their names. Our brothers– we suck back our love.

The self-righteous inherit the earth, & anger speaks louder than love. Love is a softness the weak cannot afford, & sex a Darwinian bribe.

But who wants the earth as a gift when it is empty as space, when women grow hard as bronze madonnas & Diana loves only her stag?

When Persephone stays in hell the entire year, then how can spring begin?

© Erica Mann Jong

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